Saturday, March 9, 2013
MOVIE REVIEW: OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL 3D
A mischievous magician gains the wisdom to become a powerful ruler after being swept away to a land of magic and mystery as director Sam Raimi and screenwriters Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole) explore the genesis of author L. Frank Baum's enduring tales of Oz. Shady illusionist Oscar Diggs (James Franco) enchants curious audiences at a Kansas circus. When he is inexplicably transported to the wondrous world of Oz, he encounters three witches named Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz), and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who pose him an awesome challenge: root out a ruinous force of evil that threatens to destroy the entire kingdom, and become the great leader that the population has been waiting for. Should Oscar succeed in summoning the necessary sorcery and creativity to deliver the land from darkness, he will forever be known as the Wizard of Oz. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Director: Sam Raimi
Cast: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, Zach Braff, Joey King
Release Date: Mar 08, 2013
Rated PG for sequences of action and scary images, and brief mild language
Runtime: 2 hr. 10 min.
Genres: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Let me start of by saying I’ve never been a Wizard of Oz fan. I’ve watched the film various times and it just never connected with me. I got it but the connection just never occurred. I went into this prequel expecting something akin to Tim Burton’s mess of an Alice in Wonderland prequel from a few years back. Strangely Raimi’s prequel worked so much better for me. It’s got some obvious issues but for a film that’s 2 hours long, I found myself entertained for the better part of it. Raimi’s general template is borrowed from the original film with plenty of callback to the classic film. Enough to keep any diehard fan happy. Raimi delivers a candy colored assault on the senses, especially if viewed in 3D, from the moment we enter Oz. It’s a rather rousing experience especially as the film’s quasi-fantasy epic story begins to unfold. James Franco at the lead left me feeling fairly conflicted. At times during the film I thought he was terribly miscast and at others I thought he was perfectly suited. In the end, I really couldn’t decide so it’s a mix bag at best. Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz do good work in limited and underdeveloped roles. Kunis is solid but tends to oversell her performance especially later in the film where it feels increasingly off. Weisz on the other hand is having a ball in her role, chewing up scenery with a wicked sort of determination appropriate for the character. Michelle Williams as Glinda is an angelic sight to behold; she fits the character very well. Zach Braff and Joey King voice a pair of CGI creations with impressive ease. The CGI on both of them, especially China Girl, are really impressive creations. The visual effects as a whole are wonderfully done, occasionally recreating the look from original film in some of the backgrounds. As mentioned this isn’t a perfect film. Its evil characters are underdeveloped and the crux of a certain important conflict seemed half baked at best. While I did enjoy the experience I can’t say there are plenty of spots, especially before the final act, that could have been trimmed a tad. Honesty, there no reason for this film to be over 2 hours long; still I found it thoroughly enjoyable warts and all.